Food has been very much on my mind today. I’ve been listening to more of “”The Omnivore’s Dilemma“” by Michael Pollan. A very good book. If you’re short on time, just read the section about Polyface Farm (that is how it sounds, excuse me if misspelled). It is a beautiful example of how human and beast and land can co-exist harmoniously to the benefit of all. Well, the chickens and pigs and cows and rabbits end up in the pot, but they have happy, natural lives up until shortly before that.
But seriously, do read it. I learned a LOT about how natural systems work, from soil to grass to trees to grazers to manure. I now have a new appreciation for the lowly blade of grass, which plays an essential part in the intricate and interrelated system of converting sunshine into food. By using intelligence rather than chemicals, it is perfectly possible for humans (at least in farmer-friendly climates) to feed ourselves without trashing the Earth.
The farm reminded me of a retreat Mum and I went on over Christmas a couple of years ago, at the Gaia Partnership in Herefordshire in England. Elaine Brooke has organized her home and her two acres to maximum eco-efficiency. Nothing goes to waste, the house benefits from passive solar energy, and she grows most of her own food. There is a composting toilet and male guests are encouraged to pee on the compost heap. She has demonstrated that you don’t need a whole farm to be just about self-sufficient in food. And the more I learn about agribusiness, the more I would like to know exactly where my food is coming from.
Speaking of where my food is coming from – food has also been on my mind in a more immediate way today. I’m not too concerned yet, but I’ve taken an inventory of what food I have on board. This voyage is taking longer than expected, and there was some spoilage due to those leaking lockers. So I’ve figured out what I can eat each day from now on. I should be okay, but I need to be a little careful. Or it will be out with the fishing line….
Speaking of food, during my reorganization yesterday I got out my trusty little electric kettle (see photo). It guzzles electricity like nobody’s business, and takes nearly half an hour to come to a boil, but when I have oodles of sunshine it’s a handy alternative to the Jetboil. I also got out my second Jetboil stove, as the igniter on the first one had long since ceased to work. The igniter on the second Jetboil worked once. And then stopped. Pathetic. A shame that such a great bit of kit is let down by this one substandard component.
Made better progress today. The wind rose, and although it’s not from the ideal direction, it is giving me a bit of a helping hand across the current.
There is an interview I did with the Ocean Conservancy, now online here. It is also highlighted on the homepage of their Keep the Coast Clear website (which focuses on marine debris): http://www.keepthecoastclear.org
Quote for the day, dedicated to any readers of this blog who think I am too idealistic: “Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.” (John Galsworthy) – which entitles me to be very idealistic indeed!
Sponsored Miles: Diane Freeman, Shana Bagley, David Cameron, Nick Perdiew, Simon and Eve Ringsmuth, Jeffrey Green, Cynthia Ford. Many thanks for your support in this venture.